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South Asia Partners: Solidarity as Journalists Assaulted

August 10, 2011

South Asia Partners Express Solidarity as Journalists Assaulted, Detained

Partner organisations of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) express solidarity with journalists who have suffered assault and detention in India and Pakistan recently.

In an incident in India that has led to widespread expressions of concern, photographer Bhaskar Deka was assaulted by personnel of the Indian army as he was filming a scuffle between soldiers, villagers and students at Misamari, near Tezpur, in Sonitpur district of Assam state, on July 31.

Residents were aggrieved by an army decision to close a road near a military camp, since this blocked off an important route of access for school-going children.

Deka suffered bruises in the scuffle and his camera was reportedly smashed by army personnel. He was later taken to a police station in the army camp and detained for some time.

Partners of SAMSN, comprising media freedom organisations and journalists’ bodies from the eight countries of South Asia, also joined the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in demanding the suspension of police officers who assaulted security staff and manhandled three reporters at a newspaper office in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on August 6.

According to reports received from the PFUJ, police arrived at the office of the Mashriq, a leading Urdu newspaper, after reports of gunfire in the area. Police sought to force their way into the premises in the belief that the culprits were hiding inside. They allegedly assaulted two security guards who tried to stop then and then roughly manhandled three reporters.

The men responsible for the shooting, it turned out, were not on the premises.

“As a platform for sharing experiences between journalists and media workers pursuing their jobs in a challenging environment, SAMSN welcomes these cross-border expressions of solidarity,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

“Despite a relatively unfettered legal environment, the dangers of arbitrary action by state and non-state actors are ever present in most South Asian countries.”

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook here

ENDS

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